It finally happened! You won’t read about on US News, CNN, or even Model Railroader, but the first operating session on the Meramec Valley & Pacific Lines took place on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Five brave veteran model railroaders joined me to run some steel wheels over the iron rails. Ron Williams, Dave Woomer, Ray Wells, and Steve Christeson worked the trains while Ron White sat down in the dispatcher’s seat and never looked back. In the three hours that followed, a total of 9 different jobs were completed. Sure, there were a few coupler problems, derailments, malfunctioning turnouts, and signal hiccups, but nothing hit the floor (people or equipment) and nobody got hurt!
Here’s a brief description of each job in the order it was called, along with “who done-it”:
- MOP Train SPV-1/VPS-2 – Steve C. St. Louis to Pacific/Valley Park turn. Switched Meramec Valley Materials, Hillside Gravel, Franklin Supply, Sherwin Williams, Team Track, White Paper, Woomer Chemicals, CocaCola, and St. Louis Glass Co.
- SLSF Train SSP-1/SPS-2 – Ray W. St. Louis to Springfield turn. Switched James River Cement, Purina Mills, R.T. French Co. and Kraft foods.
- MOP Train 82-PKSD – Dave W. Eastbound through freight from Pueblo (West staging) to Dupo (East staging) with stops at KC-Neff Yd and St. Louis yard.
- MOP Train KS-6 – Ron Williams. KC to Sedalia turn. Switched Pillsbury, Univ. Printing, Richland Oil, Commercial Propane, Heileman Brewery, Rexall Chemicals, and Oak Hill Feed.
- SLSF Train 33 – “The Bumblebee” – David W. A hot westbound freight of piggy back flats.
- MOP Train 75-DSKO – Ray W. A westbound through freight from Dupo, IL (East staging) to Omaha (West staging).
- MOP Train SWCK “Grain Train” – David W. Departed St. Louis with stops in Washington and Cargill, then proceeded to KC.
- MOP Train 712 – “Coal Drag” – Ron Williams. Peabody Coal (somewhere in Kansas?) to Dupo (East staging). A 16-car unit train led by two proud Jenks blue “U-boats”.
- SLSF Train 30-QLA – Ray W. Eastbound hot freight from Oklahoma City (West KC staging) to St. Louis. On this day it is mostly mechanical reefers.
(Note to purists – not all of the above trains were on any actual time schedule of the prototype, and their inclusion in operations on the MV&P is not intended to mimic prototypical operation. They were included in the name of FUN.)
Update: A few months after this session, the MV&P was dismantled and replaced with a new layout – The Eagle River Division.